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SANTERIA (Year Of The Knife) CD

I've been a fan of SANTERIA since I received their last album 'House of the Dying Sun' in 2003. Hailing from the swamplands of Louisiana, this band gives psychedelic mysticism back to the soul of hardrock and beautify the music with Indian ragas, delta blues and cajun folk. The result is a sound that is kaleidoscopic, rife with deep emotions and hauntingly beautiful. As I said before SANTERIA comes from the south of the USA, but they freed this music of all its boring stereotypes. Here you won't find an imitation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, no confederate flag and no silly songs about the last whiskey-soaked barbeque party. They are individual musicians who don't care about the ravenous music industry or some kind of silly image. I appreciate and honor that so much. Five years later, SANTERIA is back with a new album, again released on their own label Golar Wash Labs & Records. 'Year of the Knife' is a consistent further development of 'House of the Dying Sun' with the difference that it's much better across the board and you've to consider that the predecessor was simply awesome. Big words, but SANTERIA fulfill them with ease. 'Year of the Knife' is more diverse with compelling songs, no matter if they come up with straight hardrock anthems or mystically tinged psychedelic blues. 'Come on, Baby' is an excellent opener to an excellent album. Once you adjust to the jutting-riff edges in the song, and the way Dege Legg's vocals and Primo's chiming guitar pull against the beat, the classic rock inside SANTERIA busts out.

In 'Nowhere to Go' the groove-ridden guitar and the pumping rhythm section brake into a chorus of harmonized passion, whilst the sinning, seeking and tortured faith in Dege's vocals never stop. As a singer, he's an instrument of visceral rather than literal sense, speaking in tongues as he fights for a grip on hope and equilibrium. The trumpets in 'Mexico' spread a soulful vibe, while a steel guitar represents all the yearning of a restless soul. 'Hwy to the Morning Star' is a wonderful mix of haunted blues and psychedelic folk music, enhanced with some heavy riffs. This is a perfect song to lose oneself in thought, and 'Can you dream?' will take your breath away. 'Sold my Soul (For Nothing)' kicks off with a reggae beat and in the mid-section you'll find some horns. The chorus is catchy as hell, and even if that combination sounds strange - in the world of SANTERIA it works wonderful. One of the darkest songs here is the title track, where the band is moving into progressive regions and displays their talent for integrating a lot of different instruments. The result is overwhelming, trippy and mind-blowing. 'House of the Dying Sun' is the last track, and a perfect ending for an outstanding album. Again, the band demonstrates how smooth they fuse varied musical style to create their very individual sound. I could write a review about each song, because you won't find no filler among the thirteen tracks, but I think it makes more sense to make your own experience. 'Year of the Knife' is an album I love to play over and over, until the next stunning album comes round the corner. It's not only one of the best releases of the past year 2008, but also a masterpiece.

(KK)

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